Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
PHOTO BY JENNA WOGINRICH
Spring is taking over Cold Antler Farm and all of us are happily surrendering to it. The snow is melting off the garden fences, the sheep are starting to hoof up green mosses and young grass, and the chickens are getting brave enough to hop down to the stream that was once blocked by snow. There are buckets and tubing on every sugar maple in the neighborhood, and with every spare minute I’m thinking about plans for spring chicks and new beehives.
Yes friends, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.
Regardless of whether your homestead is your backyard or a couple acres off grid, it's time to start planning for the spring. If you're looking into chickens and plan on ordering from a hatchery, take some time to find the birds closest to you. If you have a particular breed in mind (I'm looking forward to raising some Black Silkie Bantams) you can use the Mother Earth News Hatchery Finder to find the right birds at the right time for you.
You can start sowing seeds indoors for early crops like lettuces, peas and broccoli. And if you haven't already stepped outside, crossed your arms, and given your garden plot a long hard look — it's time to start planning where the bounty will begin. If you're new to gardening, don't be shy because you're in good company. Scads of new homesteaders and urban gardeners are taking the reins for the first time, and blogs and forums are heating up as they discuss big plans for new gardens. Sites like YouGrowGirl are a constant inspiration for me to get my fingernails dirty.
Maybe this year is the year you'll start that new project? The rain barrel or compost turner you've secretly been eyeing in catalogs all winter may deserve a place in your budget. But before any dollars are spent on large purchases for your farm, make sure you use the elbow room spring allows to research exactly what you need. Save yourself the problems of returning items that don't work for you, or the disappointment of getting that prefab coop only to find it's 3 inches too wide.
Most of all, enjoy these warmer days. Before you know it we'll be pulling off ticks and cursing the heat, so revel in the honeymoon while it lasts darlings.